by Greg Rucka, Carmen Carnero, Terry Pallot and Michael Atiyeh
The opening issue of Dragon Age: Magekiller was a really excellent balance that was able to introduce the universe of the story and its two leads while allowing significant space for engaging storytelling as well. Greg Rucka’s writing really brought the book’s protagonists to life in this opening issue, and the art team of Carnero, Pallot and Atiyeh did a very solid job of bringing readers into this universe. With the second issue, the story picks up right where the first left off, but Magekiller #2 is a bit lackluster when compared to the opening chapter.
The Archon Radonis and his soldiers surround Marius and Tessa and the two mercenaries are present them with an impossible choice. This sequence may have been thrilling, but after the final act of the first issue took place in this setting, dedicating another third of the book to furthering the conversation feels a bit dragged out. Rucka does a decent job using this space to further develop his characters, showcasing how they react to such a scenario. Unfortunately, the small pieces that this provides about Marius and Tessa underwhelm when considering the outcome of the conversation. At a point later, when Tessa is narrating the process of seeking out the Archon’s targets, she even reflects on the futility of their decision and how either choice will end the same way. It is possibly with this admission that much of the issue’s focus feels unnecessary. What may have been the more exciting, watching Marius and Tessa work, is handled in a montage that breezes by much of the job. As a result, the large majority of the book passes by with little excitement.
Visually, Dragon Age: Magekiller is a strong book. In its second issue, Carmen Carnero and Terry Pallot provide some really wonderful panels. In a world where magic is possible, visualizing what that might look like can be difficult. In several moments in this chapter, readers are treated so some pretty excellent images of walls of fire and ice, or a mage conjuring a powerful spell. The most interesting portion of the book comes in the second act, as the artists portray four different stories alongside one another. In order to differentiate, each of the threads takes on a different visual aesthetic thanks to colors from Michael Atiyeh. With the use of different settings, Atiyeh is able to present each thread in a different color hue. The short section of the book is not overly complex, but well crafted. Readers are able to track the events one setting at a time over several pages, or one page at a time over several settings.
The characters that have been established in Dragon Age: Magekiller are certainly compelling. Even though this issue feels a bit underwhelming in plot, there are still a number of interesting aspects to it as it contributes to the ongoing plot. With quality art as well, the series continues to be a worthwhile read.